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Notre Dame Basketball

Opportunity at hand for Notre Dame; Brey weighs in on Howard, Laszewski game-time

February 22, 2022

There already have been 118 career games for Dane Goodwin in a Notre Dame basketball uniform, almost exactly half of those appearances coming via starts for the senior guard.

None has been quite like what Goodwin is set for as the Fighting Irish (19-8, 12-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) host Syracuse (15-12, 9-7 ACC) Wednesday night at Purcell Pavilion (7, ESPNews).

Resting one game behind league-leader Duke in the conference standings, Notre Dame is entering the final four-game stretch of a regular season still in contention for the regular-season ACC title and, at minimum, an opportunity for a double-bye in the league’s postseason tournament.

Neither has happened previously in the career of Goodwin, nor his veteran Irish teammates.

“You have dreams and aspirations coming in, and that’s definitely one of them, so to see it kind of come full circle a little bit, our senior year, has definitely been pretty cool,” said Goodwin, the only Irish player to start every game this season. “But we still, there’s four games left, we can’t look too far ahead. We’ve got to remain consistent and be ready to go, starting (against Syracuse).”

Notre Dame enters the contest off Saturday’s loss at Wake Forest, a game the Irish controlled for much of the contest before enduring just their third loss in 18 games dating to Dec. 20, 2021.

"I told them the other day after a loss, we've had six-, five- and four-game win streaks” after ACC losses, Brey said. “We've been good about getting back on track. It's not been as much as, hey, we're going to bounce back.

"That's a Prentiss (Hubb) message. He's used that phrase throughout his career here. If he wants to use it, he can because it's his show."


Brey was asked to weigh in on his sport’s largest topic of conversation this week: Juwan Howard’s open-handed slap that proceeded his handshake-line meltdown after Howard’s Michigan squad was pummeled Sunday at Wisconsin.

He recalled a time his post-game comments elicited a fine from conference officials but could not recall having been on the verge of a throwdown.

“You definitely are disappointed at times, which I think you’ve been in control enough to walk through it and shake everybody’s hand and move on and express yourself elsewhere,” Brey said. “I think the only time I lost it is when I mentioned John Gaffney’s name. Oh, I should mention his name again. Is that another fine? I love John Gaffney. Does he have the game tomorrow? He doesn’t have the game tomorrow.

“That was the one time, and as soon as I walked out of the press conference, I said ‘That’s going to cost me.’ They took a strict disciplinary measure, which they had to do, and I’m sure as all of us coaches, Juwan is probably looking back going, ‘Gah, I wish I would have stepped back a little bit.’”

Brey did reveal he has at times enlisted the help of his assistant coaches to ensure decorum in the post-game exchanges.

“Sometimes I have turned to my assistants when there has been a heated game and maybe some stuff with some guys talking to each other before the handshake line, because I’m the lead guy, I’ve turned back and gone, ‘Just keep an eye on the handshake line,’ for the players, because it’s just heated and stuff happens. Usually it was (Harold) Swanigan back then, now it’s Hump (Ryan Humphrey).

“Fortunately we’ve not had that. Your emotions are running here, and then all of a sudden it ends, and when it ends and you lose at the buzzer and you’ve got to turn around and shake everybody’s hands composed, I give kids credit. They do a great job with it. They do a better job than the adults, probably, going, ‘OK, tough one. On to the next one.’”

Brey came down on the side of Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, who passionately advocated for the continued tradition of post-game handshakes with the opposition. Iowa coach Fran McCaffery had said he preferred to end the post-game handshakes, but he interacted Tuesday night with Izzo – after McCaffery’s Hawkeyes blistered the Spartans by almost 30 points.

“I think we have to keep it,” Brey said. “Now, you know what happened is during COVID, we just waved to each other and I know the NBA does that. I don't think we need to be dramatic and overreact.

"Overall, it's been a good thing. It's a good message. You have to remember the young people we're in charge of and it's a good message. It's the adults that have gotten crazy at times. Come on, we need to keep that because 95 percent of it has been really good."


Irish senior forward Nate Laszewski missed Tuesday’s practice as Brey said Laszewski worked to recover from a virus, indicating that Laszewski’s bruised knee would not be a factor in his game-time availability against the Orange.

If Laszewski cannot go against Syracuse, Brey indicated he would seek to extend his rotation with the use of sophomore Matt Zona and freshman J.R. Konieczny.

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